Skin Stories: A Life Long Struggle With Eczema

Eczema

It’s nice to get back to writing this series, I have enjoyed doing my research and learning about the ways that people have struggled through their skin problems. Just a quick disclaimer before I get started, I am not a dermatologist but I will be speaking to people who have these skin conditions to get some answers. This week I’m talking about eczema, more specifically, the skin story of my best friend Autumn and how she has overcome her confidence issues stemming from it.

Eczema has always been a struggle for me growing up. I couldn’t wear makeup because it caked up in all the wrong areas, you could see the creases in my under eyes and my flakey forehead became even more prominent when I had extra products on.

Eczema is characteristically a skin condition that causes dry, flaky, itchy and occasionally cracked skin. I’ve been told this means that a lot of people who suffer from eczema feel uncomfortable and limited in what they wear and the products that they use. Eczema is not something that is limited to the face, sometimes it can be found on the elbows, knees, wrists, hands, feet and also in other areas.

Having oily skin myself, this issue was something that I don’t personally understand but I know from talking to Autumn about it in the past that it’s a heavy source of frustration. She tried a multitude of ways to even out the texture of her skin, many creams and ointments but nothing suited her. E45 Cream is the common recommendation for people who have eczema but many find that whilst it does help to moisturise their skin, it is rather heavy. Some people have even said that creams such as the E45 treatments make it more difficult to deal with.

What I have picked up from looking at chatrooms on TheStudentRoom and other Q & A sites is that the people who suffer from eczema don’t have one catch all method for skincare. Some people use aqueous cream, some people use E45, some use steroids and that’s just three of the ways that have been tried. Speaking to Autumn, she said that the only thing that has worked for her is products from The Body Shop; The Drops of Youth Liquid Peel, the Aloe Vera cleanser and the corresponding toner and cream. They work as a full routine and do transform the appearance of the skin, I have used the Drops of Youth Liquid Peel for my oily/combination skin and it did feel softer for Autumn describes it as her ‘holy grail’. Another good thing about The Body Shop is the fact that their products are animal cruelty free, not a great deal of main street products can’t say that with a clear conscience. There’s a petition against animal testing if you’re interested!

I hope that I’ve done this skin story justice as I know that so many people get upset or frustrated over eczema but I just want to make sure that everyone knows that they’re not alone. I feel passionate about this skin stories series so it would mean a lot to me if you could let me know your thoughts, let me know what you use in the comments and let’s get some conversation going. Next week we have Sulo from The Petite Damsel and her struggles with Rosacea, if you want to read my previous post in the series you can check it out here.

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My Wanderlust Bucket List

Wanderlust

Ever since my first holiday abroad I have loved travelling, I’m a nervous flyer but my favourite thing to do is explore a new place and experience its culture. My first holiday this year was my trip to Hong Kong and I plan on making a few trips around Europe later on. I thought it would be interesting to put down into words where I want to travel to and why I think that they would be my cup of tea. Speaking of which, I suggest that you make one before settling down to read this one because I might go overboard.

  • Rich in culture, Prague has a lot of features that I would love to visit! The first of which is the Lennon Wall because The Beatles represent an important part in music history and I would love to see the wall from an artistic perspective. I would also particularly like to see the Astronomical Clock of the old town hall, take a river cruise and possibly try the food at the Sansho restaurant.
  • Florence in Italy was ALWAYS on my bucket list, looking at photos I just feel like it would be a peaceful place to visit and there is a great deal of artistic brilliance there. The House of Dante, being of historical importance and the exhibition of his art and those influence by him holds a certain interest to me. Anywhere you go in Italy you’ll see beautiful examples of architecture that come from many different eras.
  • Malta is a place that has had a bit of a rep for being more a haven for the retired rather than a hot spot for the young. More frequently though, I have seen many photos of the beautiful beaches and the sights there and I’m curious about it as a destination. It seems as though Malta is putting in a lot of work to attract tourism at the moment and I feel like it’s starting to work. I think Buzzfeed had an article about a woman who became famous there for a time but I would love to see what makes Malta special.
  • Oh my goodness, Morocco is another destination that I’ve had on my mind for AGES. It would be a dream for me to peruse the flea markets of Morocco and I’ve always had this idea in my head about trying street food and buying trinkets along my way, I don’t know why I’m so fixated on this idea but I really want to see if the experience meets my expectations. Other than that, I would quite like to see the many gardens and historic parks that seem to be in all of the travel guides that I’ve seen.
  • I’ve visited the airport in Amsterdam four times now and I’ve never seen the place itself so this is more of a MUST because I always regret not planning for a longer stopover. The Amsterdam Light Festival is one of the many experience that I would like to have, apparently Amsterdam is home to quite a few “quirky festivals” and a myriad of choice in the way of nightlife. It’s disappointing that I’ve only ever waited around in the airport but I have to say, it’s one of the easiest ones to maneuver.

Of course, I want to see many other places but these are the ones that I would really love to see over the next few years. I think my main point here is that I want to see more of the world and I can’t wait to share it with you all. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve been to any of these places or if you would add anywhere else.

The First Few Days After Going Bold

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For anyone who follows me on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m loving having funky hair again. I’ve noticed that a lot of people show a very ‘rose tinted view’ of having some of the more creative colours in their hair because, of course, it’s good for the ‘gram. Unless you’re new to having coloured hair it can be a stressful few days after the initial few days; pillows, towels, anything your hair touches whilst it’s wet – forget it, they’re ruined. That’s not the only issue but this post will hopefully shed some light on bright hair colouring and the consequences that come with looking like a mermaid.

I’m not going to be saying this to put anyone off getting funky with hair colours, I just want to make sure that people know that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Particularly when you haven’t dyed your hair before it’s a big decision to make and you need to decide if it’s worth the upkeep that can be quite costly. I thought over my decision for a few years for the simple fact that I severely damaged my hair to the point of needing to get a pixie cut last time I got creative.

Colour

In connection with the whole staining issue, showering can be a tricky ordeal. The colour gets EVERYWHERE, seriously, anything brighter than pastel in shade will end up covering the walls and the shower tiles. If you can’t handle the mess then it’s best off if you go with something that clings to your hair a little more. Other than that, all you can really do is wring out your hair before you get out and towel dry your hair as much as you can to avoid the little droplets getting all up in your space.

Fading is an obvious annoyance considering the amount of colour bleeding that occurs, it’s disappointing when a fresh colour starts to look lacklustre and dull. Thankfully, in the first few days the AlfaPARF colours don’t fade drastically but they do show signs of change. If you haven’t got too many colours you can mix up a conditioning mask with a small amount of the dye as a way of keeping your hair relatively bright.

The last thing that I want to mention is more of a mental issue, people are going to notice your hair. It’s not always common to see hair so bright in your community and many people don’t mind being rude about it. You don’t necessarily need to have thick skin but it does help! Personally, so far I’ve been called everything from a Fraggle or an emo to a mermaid. Luckily I don’t mind but I do feel like it could be more of an issue if you’re a bit more sensitive to public opinion.

As you can see, there are drawbacks to having bright hair but I’m still loving it and I feel like I’m enjoying having colours like blue and purple more than the last time that I experimented in this way. So yeah, bright hair is no easy upkeep but it’s worth it to feel as confident as it can make you. I hated having boring blonde hair over the past few years but at least it meant I could play about a bit more since I gave my frizzy mess a break. Let me know if you would like a post about the products that I’ve learned to use if I want to prolong hair colour, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty great at keeping my red hair in top condition.

My New Mermazing Hair

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So I finally did it, after hours of looking through photos of other bloggers (and being super jealous of their hair) I finally grew a pair and got myself a new mermaid do. Side note: my hairspo is always Zoe London and Helen Anders. I spent quite a bit of money ruining my hair as a teen but soon realised how much it had affected the health and shine of my mop. My hair had, up until today, been my natural colour for some time and it really hasn’t been ‘me’ but I didn’t know just how much I missed switching up my image until I got it into my head that I had to have blue in my hair. Since 2015 when I cut out my bleached white frizzy mess, I have been growing my hair in preparation for a colour composition just like this one.

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I chose an old friend of mine, Becca Sanders as my hairdresser after seeing a picture of similar colours being tested out on her hair. I’m so pleased that I did because she seemed to be just as excited as me to see how the colours worked out and it made me feel really at ease whilst she blended in the three different colours from ALFAPARF Milano; True Blue, Rich Purple and Magenta. Whilst my hair is naturally blonde, a bleach bath was required to allow my hair to take on the bright shades better. This is relevant because I want to talk about how shiny and soft the dye has left my hair, the texture tends to be coarse and limp but as you can see it looks amazing.

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The picture above shows the colour in a different light but also a little closer, whilst I had my heart set on the blue – I couldn’t resist the purple. I’m in love with my new look and I can’t wait to see what Becca comes up with next! I would really like to know what colours you would choose if you decided to go bold, please let me know in the comments below.

Skin Stories: An Ode To The Red And The Blotchy

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Everyone overthinks about what their skin looks like, even models aren’t always comfortable about having a bare face. It’s important to realise that no one is perfect and no one is 100% happy with their skin and, I’m not going to lie, it took me quite a long time to realise this myself! With this in mind, I would like to share with you the skin story of a different person every week. I’m going to start with my own so you know that we’re all in the same boat despite our differences. I’ve never had much confidence in my skin, not that I have a severe condition but it is very oily and that causes quite a few problems.

It has only been the past five years that I’ve been self conscious about my skin, before then I was more concerned about my body shape, due to some rather mean comments at school. When I hit 17 it felt like my skin got bad overnight, suddenly I was aware of how oily my skin was and spots started appearing on my face more often than not. My biggest issue was and still is my T-zone and the pores on my nose, I recently found out that they’re not blackheads which is what I just assumed. What they actually are is sebaceous filaments and they’re not really something that I can get rid of. A sebaceous gland aids the production of naturally occurring oils that can cause these filaments – i.e it’s best not to disturb this balance for the sake of my skin anyway!

The first way that I attempted to rid myself of these sebaceous filaments is through using pore strips and peel off masks. Neither of those things helped but the peel off masks help in a different way, they make my face feel clean.  Last year I tried to get rid of them by going through a course of microdermabrasion but honestly, I wouldn’t rate it! It left my face feeling sunburned and the treatment had no affect on my annoying skin issue, in fact, I suspect that it irritated it and made it worse. The problem is, when I was researching microdermabrasion some people said that it was helpful and some swore it was a skin hindrance rather than a skin saviour.  The truth is, it’s different for everyone but it just wasn’t worth it for me.

I’m still very much on my skin journey but I thought I would give you all an idea of what to expect from the rest of my series. The next person whose skin story I will be sharing is my best friend Autumn who has had eczema throughout her whole life. If you would like to be featured or you want to leave me some skin advice, you can leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Boredom Busters: What I’m Watching On Netflix

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I’m not going to lie, when I was younger I went through a few phases when it comes to TV and films. I will say though, since then my tastes have changed and I don’t get hooked on things like I used to. That being said, Netflix usually has a few things on there that I get absorbed into. I’m not talking about ‘The End Of The F***ing World’ because that’s just not my cup of tea! I’m talking about strange things that I wouldn’t have looked at if it wasn’t for the recommended sections.

  • Skin Wars: Fresh Paint was something that I didn’t expect to like but I watched Project Runway and RuPaul’s Drag Race when I was away so I thought I would give it a go. I really enjoyed how creative the contestants got with the paint and it was interesting to see how different everyone’s perception of art is. Give it a go, you never know until you try it!
  • Alien Deep with Dr Robert Ballard is a documentary which I found particularly interesting because you can see how much the team are invested in finding older and more unusual wreckages. Watching the doc, I was rooting for them to find what they were looking for and Dr Ballard did make some interesting points about life thousands of years ago.
  • The Pyramid Code was an unexpected find that was advertised after I watched a documentary about Rome, I have to be in a certain mood to watch documentaries and I just kind of binge watched  them. When I found this series, I was intrigued by the first one but then I swear that I blinked and I was on the last ep! It was just SO good.
  • Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father was one that I watched because I had just finished Fresh Meat. Jack’s character was amusing so I searched for other things that he was in, I hit on lucky and searched the day that his show was released on Netflix. I just enjoyed watching the way that he interacted with his dad and the contrast between the two of them.

Those are my top picks from Netflix right now but I’d love to hear what everyone else is watching. Sometimes I lose touch with Netflix but it was a life saver when I live in Middlesbrough!

 

The Best Book About Styling A Brand

Styling

As many of you are aware, recently I decided to scrap my old blog and start a fresh one. The main ongoing struggle for me is turning my name into a brand; I know what I want this blog to be but the uncertainty comes in the form of colour schemes and styles.

The start of the journey, for me, began with reading How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone. I had sat down to read multiple books and none of them clicked with me, Fiona’s book was the first that gripped me. The book claims to be ‘everything you need to know to create a distinctive brand identity’ and for me it was just that. The section about colour psychology particularly helped me to find out that my blog fits the spring (with a hint of winter) colour bracket. If you’re unsure about it, I implore you to check out this book as it has clarity and it goes through things right from the foundation up.

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Of course, this book is not just for bloggers and creatives! Anyone starting a business can look to this book as if it’s a bible, no wonder it was a best seller! I hope anyone looking to start a business takes as much enjoyment and inspiration from this book as I have. My brand is nowhere near polished or finished but it’s a step down the right path, I have a lot of playing about to do. It’s all trial and error, ya’know!

This book is quite obviously a favourite of mine right now, I couldn’t put it down and I’m still flicking through to make sure that I haven’t missed anything in my haste to get finished. I’d love it if you could comment below if you know of any books that have been useful in building YOUR personal brand, I’m always looking for recommendations!